Thanksgiving: Picking on Bones

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Thanksgiving morning walk with Daddy

My parents got a new puppy about six weeks ago. His name is Rosceaux, and he’s an English Cream Golden Retriever. He’s really sweet but has a lot of puppy energy and is not really that small. In their small house, he tries to run off his energy, but a lack of runway trips him up everytime.

Ashok is not really dog-friendly, but she does adapt over time if they don’t get thrown together in an aggressive encounter. She runs and plays easily with my brother Sammy’s dogs but has had too many ‘not so friendly’ encounters with my younger brother Terry’s dog, so she’s still aggressive with her. Stupidly, when I walked up yesterday afternoon, I let Rosceaux and Ashok go nose to nose, and it turned out to be an aggressive encounter. So, we separated them last night by trading off kennel time and walk times. It was a peaceful evening, although Ashok really seemed to want to get out of jail.

Time in the pen

Time in the pen

This morning, my Dad and I walked the island with our two dogs on leash. Since they’ve been back after the walk, they have sniffed each other’s noses and rumps and even passed by close enough to be touching without any issues. I should have known I needed to walk them together as a pack so they’d get the point. Too often, I forget that a dog’s natural instinct is not like ours. That’s the beauty of the people/dog relationship. It is a beautiful miracle that two very distinct species can co-habitate and – even with huge differences in instinct and behavior – communicate and bond on such a deep level. But in order to co-exist peacefully, I have to remember that her way of greeting new animals is not by shaking hands.

Loving life at Granny's House

Loving life at Granny’s House

Thanksgiving gatherings are no different. Even though my entire family grew up on the same soil with the same ingredients for upbringing, we are all different. I remember when my brothers were younger and full of testosterone, they’d hit the door at Thanksgiving arguing about politics. The rest of us would roll our eyes and try to get out of the way, hoping that no blood would be spilled. As they’ve changed, and their priorities have changed, they have learned to keep their conversations on common ground.

Typical canvas for Thanksgiving in Pierre Part

The holidays are a way of marking change for me. We are lucky. We have not lost an immediate family member yet due to death or disability. Everybody still has their faculties about them although we are all quite crazy. So, each year we remember the last and on each holiday, I tend to remember how things were 10 years … 20 … years … and even 30 years ago. Some relationships are stronger and some have weakened, but I know that above all, we are all still here. I always find it sad when I hear about estranged siblings – and it is very common – because I know that it leaves a hole in a family no matter how frustrating they might have been. Like dogs, we really do all wish we could just get along. Our pack mentality may be a little different, but in many ways, it is very much the same.

DogTV was a big hit…

My parents have a free weekend of DogTV. We laughed about it, but after tuning into it for a bit last night and this morning, I see the benefit. The dogs really are attracted to it. They must do something to the music that keys on their hearing sense because their ears perk up, and they are drawn to it. I can imagine that it does keep a dog company when an owner is gone all day. In a sense, I guess that’s what PeopleTV does for us, too. How many times when I was younger and lonely did TV become my constant friend? The TV in nursing homes is a gathering place for favorite shows. And, I remember when General Hospital was on in high school, it brought lots of us together. I remember walking into our house in Wood Acres one day, and both of my brothers and their group of friends, whom I dubbed the Jock Flock, were sitting in our living room waiting for it to start. Why would dogs be any different?

Peace at last….

We’re waiting for my Uncle and Sammy’s family to converge on Graveyard Island so we can have a small Thanksgiving Day gathering. The entire family will gather on Saturday. Roscoe is peacefully napping on the rug in the living room, and Ashok is slumbering right next to me on the sofa. There’s a pork roast bubbling in the oven, and my Dad is reminiscing about my Grandfather with Terry on the phone. I talked to my sister earlier who had been dealing with a sick grandbaby with an exploding diaper yesterday. She was laughing that I had the right idea about not having babies. The pack is gathering whether virtually or in person. There may be skirmishes if we step into each other’s space. There will probably be a lot of focus on food with bones in it. I’m sure naps will come into play this afternoon. Upon further examination, maybe we’re much more like dogs than I thought. I just hope that this Thanksgiving no blood will be spilled – canine or human. Although it would certainly be a great story to tell on Thanksgiving next year!

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